The three interest groups that make up the EESC elected their new presidents on the opening day of the European Economic and Social Committee's inaugural plenary session for the new term of office.
The new Group presidents are:
- Stefano Mallia for the Employers' Group
- Oliver Röpke for the Workers' Group
- Séamus Boland for the Diversity Europe Group.
They will remain in office for the next two and a half years until 2023.
The vote took place during the Groups' constitutive meetings held alongside the plenary.
Stefano Mallia has been a member of the EESC since 2010. The clear focus of his presidency of the EESC Employers' Group will be to help businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis and construct a recovery that takes advantage of the harsh lessons learned during the last months. Other priorities will include the transition to a cleaner economy, which must take place in an economically sustainable manner, and digitalization. Mr Mallia emphasizes that the EESC and the Employers' Group have to be a natural partner of the other EU institutions when it comes to discussing the European economy. Mr Mallia is Partner at the economic analysis and business consultancy EMCS Ltd and former President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. His area of expertise lies in the EU Structural Funds and SME financing.
Oliver Röpke is a returning president first elected halfway through the past term to replace Gabriele Bischoff when she became an MEP in 2019. A member of the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB, which he represents on the ETUC's executive committee, he has served at the EESC since 2009, penning opinions on pivotal social issues such as decent minimum wages and common minimum standards in the field of unemployment benefits. Mr Röpke is committed to a strong EU social recovery and reconstruction strategy to tackle the impact of COVID-19, focusing on solidarity and a social agenda with measures to protect workers' rights.
Poverty and the role of civil society organisations in combatting it will be the focus of Séamus Boland's first term as president of the Diversity Europe Group, which gathers together a large variety of civil society organisations. The new president wants to frame the issue in the broader context of the European Green Deal and the impact of COVID-19 on society. A farmer and long-time civil society actor, Mr Boland is CEO of Irish Rural Link, a board member of Inland Fisheries Ireland and chair of Peatlands Council. He has been an EESC member since 2011 and a rapporteur for various EESC opinions related to agriculture, rural development, energy, social affairs and Brexit.
For more information see the Groups' pages: